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What did he see?

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  • wolffwizard
    Study illuminates star explosion from 16th century http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_sc/sci_tycho_s_supernova NEW YORK – More than 400 years after
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2008
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      Study illuminates star explosion from 16th century
      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_sc/sci_tycho_s_supernova

      NEW YORK – More than 400 years after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe
      challenged established wisdom about the heavens by analyzing a
      strange new light in the sky, scientists say they've finally nailed
      down just what he saw.

      It's no big surprise. Scientists have known the light came from a
      supernova, a huge star explosion. But what kind of supernova?

      A new study confirms that, as expected, it was the common kind that
      involves the thermonuclear explosion of a white dwarf star with a
      nearby companion.

      The research, which analyzed a "light echo" from the long-ago event,
      is presented in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by scientists
      in Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.

      The story of what's commonly called Tycho's supernova began on Nov.
      11, 1572, when Brahe was astonished to see what he thought was a
      brilliant new star in the constellation Cassiopeia. The light
      eventually became as bright as Venus and could be seen for two weeks
      in broad daylight. After 16 months, it disappeared.

      Working before telescopes were invented, Brahe documented with
      precision that unlike the moon and the planets, the light's position
      didn't move in relation to the stars. That meant it lay far beyond
      the moon. That was a shock to the contemporary view that the distant
      heavens were perfect and unchanging.

      The event inspired Brahe to commit himself further to studying the
      stars, launching a career of meticulous observations that helped lay
      the foundations of early modern astronomy, said Michael Shank, a
      professor of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin,
      Madison.

      The direct light from the supernova swept past Earth long ago. But
      some of it struck dust clouds in deep space, causing them to
      brighten. That "light echo" was still observable, and the new study
      was based on analyzing the wavelengths of light from that.

      ___

      On the Net:

      Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature




      Wolfwizard
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